Monday, April 22, 2013

S10 Team Previews

Anaheim Angels
Newcomers are SP Rogers and C Hewitt Impact rookies include Creek, Page, Tony Guerrero, Little, Anderson and Perez. Impossible to predict how a team with no one over 29 in the lineup will do. Range at SS will decrease but the offense should improve with a solid core of Bennett, Mays, Johnson and Alex Guerrero. Pitching core of Martinez, Crawford, Rogers and Anderson is really exciting, but a bit unpredictable. Perez joins Trammell, Vining, Pegeuro and Bonilla to form a respectable bullpen. This team will steal bases but will anyone hit for power? Farm system's contribution is now in overdrive and the Angels expect this to be the season where their AL West rivals have to finally take the Angels seriously. Tito Mays must return to form and Sherm Creek needs to defend respectably at SS for the Angels to win the division. Kelley Walters surprisingly beat out Tony Guerrero for the second base job and will be making the jump from AA to the bigs this season.

Atlanta Braves
The Braves made no significant off season moves. Mainstays RF Alex Cheng, 1B Al Reynoso and 2B Dario York are past their prime, but still productive. Ultimately, a the Braves' offensive production will depend on whether 3B Alex Tarraga begins to realize his potential as he approaches his prime. Corner outfielder Edgardo Guardado was surprisingly productive at the plate after being acquired in a mid-season deal with the Reds. Young LF Boots Vaughan continued to show steady progress offensively as well. Defensively, the Braves are once again solid up the middle, with the catching platoon of young Ricardo Jose and Lawrence Houston, York at 2B and the emerging Ezdra Aviles at SS, and solid fielding, seldom hitting Jhonny Mercedes in CF. The Braves have solid and relatively young starting pitching, but lack a top flight hurler at the top of the rotation. Closer Harold Daily, with 242 career saves, anchors a productive bullpen. The NL South is expected to once again be competitive, and the Braves are hoping they are positioned to contend for the title.

Baltimore Orioles
Wow, what an off season. After several seasons of keeping this core together and making the playoffs 8 of the first 9 seasons in MLB History, Orioles management decided to blow things up and start over. What made this an exceedingly tough decision was that this team went on a magical run in and won the World Series in Season 9. Also muddying the waters was the fact that an inordinate number of teams apparently are entering rebuilding phases which made us nervous about moving some of our really good vets.

We came out of the gates and were extremely aggressive in marketing our players, but reality set in and we had to settle for 75 cents on the dollar in a lot of cases. However, we are relatively happy with the prospects and young players we were able to re stock our system with and at the same time locking up some of our young talent to long term contracts.

As for this season, who really knows. The ML team as currently contrived adding in the players who will come up around game 20 is better than I originally throught it would be. We've freed up a lot of payroll room so hopefully can grab a good international or two decent ones.

All in all, we're pleased with the moves we made and are excited for the future.

Boston Red Sox
With a revamped rotation, Boston plans to try and compete now, while having one foot in the rebuild pool. With Speier opting out of his contract, Leach aging, and Gao not willing to sign a longterm deal the new Boston GM was forced to make some difficult decisions. Bostons offense is young enough that it didnt warrant a full rebuild but the pitching staff was very old and expensive. So out went Gao and Leach in trades, Leach bringing back a solid prospect and Gao brought in almost an entire pitching staff. So, with all of that being said, Boston does not have any studs in their rotation, but they should have 4-5 solid #3 type pitchers that will hopefully keep them in games. The bullpen has been upgraded with the additions of Tatis and Watson to go along with Ventrella. Offensively Boston took a step back, but still are pretty potent. With Keppel moving to RF and Clayton taking over CF, balls to the OF should not get past either of them which will hopefully cut down on doubles in this park. The thought heading into the season with this team is Defense, Bullpen, and the 3-run HR!

Chicago Cubs
No Trades
Lost in FA:
Daryl Woods (RP) - Pittsburgh Type B
Delino Guerrero (SP) - Cincinnati Type B
Walker Bryant (RP) - Detroit
Sawyer Miller (CF) - Unsigned

Signed in FA:
Manny Martin (CF) Type B
Hi Jensen (3B)
Delanor Prince (RP) Type B
Yonder Toca (SS)

Last year was a very frustrating season for the Cubs as they began to rebuild. We flirted way too close to the 200 loss mark but ended up avoiding probation. Then managment was dumb enough to not budget enough money for the #5 pick in the draft so not only do we not add a quality player but we get no comp pick this year from not signing him. Add in the fact that we're the Cubs and it seemed to be a disastrous season nine. We were more active in the trading last season and did manage to grab pitcher Reginald Walker who we feel will be a quality starting pitcher that fans will see sometime this season. Also we made a trade for Ariel Mateo when the 200 losses loomed large. He probably saved us from probation with his offense. He'll be expected to carry us in that department again this season along with Carlos Henriquez (37 HR, 98 RBI) and Timo Pinto (53 HR, 119 RBI). We need Yonder Mendoza to have a better season on the mound then he did last year and plan on calling up Reginald Walker and Andres Delgado from the minors to step into the rotation. We budgeted plenty in prospect payroll in order to make sure the #3 draft pick is signed and in our minors this season and hopefully land an Int'l player or two. We expect to be at the bottom of the division again this season but hope to be farther away from last season's record.

Cincinnati Reds
Key Additions: C Burt Washington, 1B Greg Monroe, 3B Chad York, LF Bert Root, CF Charles Peterson, SP Delino Guerrero, RP Don Plant, RP Elvis Janssen, RP Earl King

Key Losses: OF Harold McKnight, 3B Sam Schwartz, 1B Robert Rogers, 2B Hi Jensen, 2B Erik Swift, SP Jimmie Aparicio

Offensively this team is built to give Montreal a run for their money. Hopefully 800+ runs is not a pipe dream. Signing Peterson for CF gave us the ability to move Travis Evans to 2B where we feel he is a better fit. RF Theo Mathews is a good player who had a down season last season…SS Branch Pressley is working hard to hone his defense and his offense makes him an above average SS. The bench is strong as we can bring Seth Heiserman or Larry Browning off the bench late in games to provide power and contact. Defensively the team is much improved at most positions. The worry remains as to how much of a disaster the COF will be.

Losing 10 complete games from last season will be rough, but that’s why we went out and added around 200 innings to the bullpen. Janssen was miscast as a starting pitcher the last 3 seasons and a move to the bullpen will only help him out. King will struggle some with his control, but he should be able to save the bullpen during losses and Don Plant is just really good at what he does. This in addition to returning RP Heving, Franklin, and Paz being solid as well.

Last season was a soul-crushing (not really) experience. The Reds produced the best season Cincinnati fans had seen and yet failed to make the playoffs because, well, let’s face it, Montreal is really good and Milwaukee and San Diego took care of business.

Cleveland Indians
The Indians are feeling pretty confident heading into season 10. The starting 8 is comprised of mostly returning young and improving veterans like Babe Coggin in CF, Ebenezer Well at 3B, Lou Anderson at short and Doug Osborne in RF. Two key additions by trade are Eduardo Ayala behind the plate and Bartolo Moreno at 2b. DH is well covered by the slugging Randy Washington. This team should hit and play the field with the best. The strength of the team however, should be the starting rotation of Rod Maurer, Denny Andrews, Harpo Drabek, Fred parker not to mention rookie sensation Bill Serrano. The bullpen is a little think but with a solid starting 5 and Cookie Alfonso closing games the Tribe is expected to compete for first in a very tough division.

Detroit Tigers
Coming off back-to-back 100 win seasons, and with their core players intact, Detroit moved cautiously in the off-season. The only real hole on the roster was in the rotation, replacing the underperforming Dale Tresh, who was as glad to leave Detroit as Detroit was to get the comp pick back for him. Failing to find a trade that made sense within the overall plan, and with the top FA pitchers demanding more money than was in the budget, we instead focused on a couple of aging, but still high quality FA pitchers. Walker Bryant and R. J. Manto do not have the stamina that most teams want for starters, but they have the chance to be dynamic in a tandem role, and signed for reasonable money. The hoped for upgrade at catcher never materialized, but Carlos Vidal ishould be ready with a just a little more seasoning in AAA, and should be adequate in a platoon role. Other than that, management was very happy with the core of the team, and are counting on continued development from some of the younger members of the roster and a few breaks going the right way. Given that, a return to the Series looks to be well within reach.

Houston Astros
Key Losses – Robinzon Bournigal (2B), Jamie McMahon (SS) and Ross Wilkerson (LF), R.J. Manto (SP), Don Plant (RP), Delanor Prince (RP)

Key Additions – Jose Viriato (LF), Pat Hickman (2B), Lee Cash (SS), Rick Coveleski (RP), Lew Bridges (RP), Bernie Speier (SP)

The Astros won their second consecutive division title in season 9 and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs. With the taste of playoff fever in their blood, the front office has made some bold moves this offseason in order to try and get the team to a championship level. These moves could results in big rewards, but also represent big risk. The biggest splash of the offseason was the free agent signing of Bernie Speier. The best pitcher over the last decade was able to secure a $70 Million dollar deal over 3 years. Nobody doubts the 36 year old still has the talent to be an ace, but there are major injury concerns with the mileage he has put on his arm over the years. In addition, the Astro’s other ace, Darrell Vitiello, also is a significant injury risk. Rick Coveleski was also a key addition to the pitching staff, via trade, to help solidify the bullpen.

On the offensive side, the team was able to obtain Jose Viriato via trade to help strengthen the depth of their line up. Like their big pitching addition (Speier), Viriato is in the twilight of his career, but there is no doubt he can still contribute at a high level. The Astros will also get a boost from the number one overall pick in the season 7 draft, Pat Hickman after the 20 game mark. Hickman will provide a much needed power bat to provide protection for perennial MVP candidate Moises Gonzalez. I can’t close this preview without mentioning the impact that Ugueth Cortes has on this team. He will never be an All Star, he will never be a Silver Slugger, but he is the engine that makes this lineup go. Cortes has recorded a .337 batting average in his first three seasons in the majors.

Milwaukee Brewers
Eleven players left the team via free agency including declined team/mutual options. Among the departed: Starting Pitchers: Hippolito Ramirez, Josias Gonzalez and Bruce Hamilton, Relief pitchers: Haywood Cannon, Mo Watson and Clay Choo. Also, David Macias who split time at third base and in center field and Junior Tabaka and Pablo Maranon who saw significant playing time coming off the bench last season.

A couple players will be bubble up from the farm but most players will be replaced from free Agency. The key additions include Dale Tresh and Aurelio Uribe who will join the starting rotation and Hal Bell who will become the everyday third baseman.

With The Expos having a couple seasons in their window of dominating the NL North the Brewers are content to use this season as a rebuilding season. I’m expecting a step back this season; we will still be very competitive but I won’t be surprised if we miss the playoffs. Making the playoffs this season is still a goal, though it is a “stretch” goal for this season whereas it was “threshold” last season.

Minnesota Twins
Taking over rebuilding teams has been something that I have always enjoyed. Having taken over for Iceman who left due to win requirement, Ive set out to do something that has yet to happen in The MLB, win the division. Will it happen this year? I bet not but watch out around season 12 in the AL Central.

The first order of business was to start to shed the salaries that Ice took on trying to meet the win requirement. Via trade was allowed to dump salaries of guys like Janssen and Easterly while bringing in potential ML starting prospects.

For the season 10 Twins will be lead by youngsters 1B TJ Payne, new addition C Waly Parra,Rf Victor Marquez and the vet 3b Al Javier. The rotation is lead by Geraldo Cabeza and company who look to keep the ship afloat until the 3 headed monster of Adam Parnell, Victor Nance, and Yamil Amaro are ready to take the slab at Target Field.

If the heart of the order can improve on thier hitting stats we will be looking for 65-70 wins this season.

New Orleans Jazz
Taking over the New Orleans Jazz franchise was agreeing to running, arguably, the worst franchise in MLB's early history. In the seven prior seasons, the Jazz had never made the playoffs. They only had one season with a winning record. The team had finished last place in five of seven seasons, and third place the other two. In our first season (season 8), we improved the team's record by a moderate 2 games. The farm system was strengthened greatly though. In our second season (last season) the team took a big step forward, improving by 9 wins. This season, we should take an even bigger step forward. A number of veterans were brought in to improve the squad. Robert Rogers will anchor the DH position. While not a big power hitter, he will be a tough out. SP Willie Lemon will solidity the middle of the starting rotation, and provide a workhorse starting pitcher that was sorely missing on last season's squad. Josias James was traded to the Red Sox for 5x All Star Larry Leach. Leach will be the team's #1 starter and provide leadership to a pitching staff loaded with young players. Two impact rookies will also be making their debuts this season. Benito Infante will be replacing the departed James at 3B and Japanese pitching sensation and bonus baby, Hideki Ni, will also be making his long awaited debut. Both should have great careers and make an immediate impact. While the team probably doesn't have quite enough to catch Kansas City and win the division, we hope to be a player in the Wild Card. Expectations are to set the franchise record for wins in a season, 84 and make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

New York Mets
Looking like a long year at shea stadium keeping figures crossed for young hitters Bailey, Rivers and Urbina come thru with a good defense hope to be respectable

New York Yankees
The NY Yankees broke out to claim their first division title. The cheer was short lived as they ere promptly removed from the playoffs by their division rival. Gupper Steinbrenner and company seek to build on the success of the previous season. Goal number one in the offseason was to re-sign Javier Mercado which they were able to do. That sets up a brutal lineup for opposing pitchers as they attempt to navigate the Greenwood-Aoki-Mercado-Withers-Goreki middle of he line up. The top of he rotation remains strong and management has suggested they may bring up hot pitching prospect Ivan Wise this season if needed. The bullpen remain a concern. The Yankees have lofty goals for the season.

Philadelphia Phillies
With 15 new faces on the 25 man roster, the new Phillies ownership hopes to contend for the playoffs this season. Longtime Phillies 2B Thomas Bailey and LF Byron Sullivan got some help on offense with the additions of 1B Alex Hart and youngster 3B Henry Lennon. New starting C Rafael Olmedo is a huge upgrade defensively over Heathcliff Haney who will take a shot at RF this season. Pitching has been revamped in Philly and high expectations are on newcomers Stubby Easterly and Felix Hamels . 24 year olds Sam Phelps and Jose Viriato round out a very solid rotation. RP Cam Shouse was signed in the offseason to help relief stud Ned Gold and hopefully stabilize that bullpen. Despite only having 68 mil in payroll, anything short of making the playoffs this season would be a disappointment in Philly. However, with the 8th pick in the draft this year and a pretty young ML team, the Phillies are in a good position for the future as well.

San Diego Padres
The off-season was eventful for the Padres. New ownership led to a cleanout of the organization and a retooling of the ML roster. Free agent acquisitions Neftali Barrios and Frank Hunter and a mega deal in which 6 players were sent to Boston for Phil Gao should help the offense create runs. Free agent Hipolito Ramirez should upgrade the starting staff and FA Yusmeiro Sosa and trade acquisition Al Campos should bring respectability to the bullpen. Phil Lowery remains to anchor the starting staff, Mack Lankford will close games out and veterans Matty Sanchez, Ringo Johnson and Bob Daniels will contribute offensive support with youngsters Wes Sheehan, Gerrit Gibson & Gerardo Perez continuing to improve. Season ticket packages are flying off the shelves in anticipation of another playoff run in San Diego, but a shaky bullpen could present a problem over the long haul of a season.dres

No comments:

Post a Comment